US Opinion and Commentary

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Why Freddie Gray Is Still a Thing One Year On

Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 1:16 pm (UTC-4)
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The outrage that erupted and spilled into the streets of Baltimore in the days after 25-year-old African-American Freddie Gray died in police custody harkened back to another painful and ugly moment in American history. Heavily armed police on the streets, clouds of tea gas, protesters being dragged away against their will: it could have been Baltimore 48 years ago—1968—after the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But it was April 2015. The city burned with anger, outrage and grief for days. Several months later, six Maryland police officers—not all were white—were charged in connection with Gray’s death. The state prosecutor cited the cops for improperly arresting and shackling Freddie Gray in violation of police rules by loading him into a van without the required safety restraints, and also ignoring his pleas for help.

Freddie Gray, the riots and the sudden shattering of business as usual in Baltimore morphed into a symbol of all the other recent violence between police and the black community, some recorded on smart phones and uploaded to social media websites. A year later, things are quiet, at least on the surface. But much remains unresolved, prime to erupt again as law enforcement grapples with a crisis that until recently had been swept under the carpet.

Dear White America

Posted December 30th, 2015 at 7:50 pm (UTC-4)
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If you are white, and you are reading this letter, I ask that you don’t run to seek shelter from your own racism. Don’t hide from your responsibility…. Being neither a “good” white person nor a liberal white person will get you off the proverbial hook.

50 Years After Watts Riots, Not Enough Has Changed

Posted August 11th, 2015 at 3:24 pm (UTC-4)
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A half a century is a long time, and South L.A. has seen a host of new investments, but Watts itself still sticks out — and not just on the map. It needs more jobs, better schools and more support from the rest of Los Angeles.

Is History Repeating Itself 50 Years After Watts?

Posted August 11th, 2015 at 2:35 pm (UTC-4)
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As Ferguson, Missouri marks the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white cop, it feels like the racial divide that sparked the deadly riots in the Watts district of Los Angles in 1965 remains a sad reality of American life. With #Black Lives Matter protesting a string of deaths of African-Americans by white policemen, leaders are urging its members to be focused and peaceful — and not give in to the kind of despair Watts came to symbolize.

Ferguson: One Year After the Shooting of Michael Brown

Posted August 10th, 2015 at 1:05 pm (UTC-4)
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The first anniversary of the shooting death of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a white police offer was marked by another shooting – in Ferguson. Police say during a protest last night, a black male opened fire on police, who then returned fire, leaving the shooter in critical condition. Since Ferguson, there have been numerous other deaths of African-Americans while in police custody, which begs the question: a year later, what has changed?

Listening to Ta-Nehisi Coates While White

Posted July 17th, 2015 at 8:46 am (UTC-4)
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Your new book, “Between the World and Me,” is a great and searing contribution to this public education … You write to your son, “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”